I always fancied customising a Raleigh 20. Sheldon Brown did it many times, so there is a good precedent? I was intending to fit alloy rims for a start, so that braking would be possible in the wet. The standard Raleigh long drop (65mm front) chrome steel calipers flex a lot in the dry & really need updating IMHO: )
So I found this brown one on Ebay in quite nice condition. Pictured here it has had the tyres replaced with some NOS Pirellis. (Try finding them: ) And I like the Turbo saddles.
Next step was to find some suitable alloy rims. Sun CR 18 451 rims are £35 each on SJS Cycles! A bit too much for me, so I looked for alternatives… Plenty of 406mm, but they look silly to me in R20s. Viz the USA versions.
I came across some 456mm alloys, only 5mm bigger & they were cheap, cheap at £14 for a pair. Sounded good to me. £21 delivered! Amazing I thought.
Has to be a snag? The snag is limited tyre availability. But Holland Bike Shop had a selection of colours for 456 x 47 tyres happily. For £14 a pair in brown. With new tubes & shipping, a total of £31.
I think £52 for new rims, tyres & inner-tubes is very reasonable: )
Another slight snag is that the rims were anodised green. Wouldn’t look good on a brown R20? I don’t think so. But, the green rim colour was very similar to the traditional Raleigh green.
So, back to Ebay & straight away I found a lovely R20 Stowaway in green, with no wheels!!! Serendipity at its best. It was just waiting for me I’m sure.
The brown one is destined for Ebay soon, if I can’t place it with family member, or a friend. Offers invited: )
I think the green rims go very well with the green of the frame & the brown tyres also. Camouflage colours?
I measured the infated tyre on the rim diameter & it looked as if it would fit in the forks… Just. But I wouldn’t know for sure until the wheel was built.
So I bought a set of spokes for the front first. If it didn’t fit I’d be wasting my time on the rear also! The Spoke Calculator told me 202mm & when they arrived I soon realised they were way too long for a cross 3 pattern… Turned out I ordered 220mm!!! Moral there somewhere! £20 down the drain & a good lesson for me.
Anyway I ordered some more spokes & got it right this time. Almost.
Lacing it up I soon realised they were slightly short this time for a cross 3, but OK for a cross 2. So that’s how it is now. A proper Comedy of Errors.
The rear was having a NOS Sturmey Archer X-RD3 that had been lying around for a couple of years. Spoke lengths were perfect this time with a cross 3. Hurray!
For me the rear drum brake is the ideal solution. I can forget the bendy Raleigh calipers, it’ll look cleaner & have an all weather rear brake at least.
For the front brake I found a NOS (in a Raleigh sealed pack, modernish, Raleigh alloy caliper. (Badged Alhonga in the listing photos. It just arrived & I realise now that it is a modern version of a Weinmann 730!)
So, pictured right is the frame with its new wheelset in its current state. It has at least a 5mm clearance at the front; ) Luckily. No space for guards, but I like the look of the fat 47 tyres & they should give a more comfortable ride at the recommended 50psi max.
Got all the cables & front brake today, so now I can get on with the project.